What is this about?

‘Globalisation’ as a term hides a variety of meanings which do not always fit together to produce one neat picture’ (Bottery, 2004:33).  The term suggests a range of complex issues and can include perceptions of our unique place and meaning on the planet but also environmental, cultural, demographic, economic and political globalisation and the effects they have upon each other and together.

The concept of Future Thinking is linked to the environmental and social justice aspects of globalisation and encourages sustainability as part of a critical and creative approach towards achieving a future in which both the welfare of people and the planet are of importance.

Things to think about in relation to Globalisation:

  • Do places matter educationally (Cannatella, 2007)?
  • How is future thinking re-elected in your context, both within the curriculum and in extracurricular opportunities?
  • How does your setting provide opportunities to engage with the natural world?  In what ways can the natural world important to students?
  • How much potential is there within your context for students to learn outdoors and why might this be important
  • How are the forces of globalisation considered in your setting?  Do students consider social justice at a national and global level?

Why is this important?

In education the impacts of globalisation can mostly commonly be felt through the changing nature of knowledge and organisational policy and structures, including curriculum change and policy transfer.

The term ‘global education’ describes a form of education which enables an understanding of the links between lives across the work, increases understanding of the global influences that shape us, develops skills and attitudes  to enable collaboration and may have elements of attempts to achieve a just and sustainable world in which power and resources are equitably shared (Hicks, 2016).

There is a sense for those experienced in the education that the ‘promotion of future thinking and future preparedness, concern for sustainability and the environment, is not a priority in the busy lives of school.  If schools are where we lay our plans for the future and if those who work in schools have vital work to do in this dimension then something is missing’ (Stephens, 2014).

What does this mean for Leadership?

Fielding (2010) describes educational systems as being ‘stuck in a time warp, suffering both from historical amnesia and future myopia, displaying an unwillingness or inability to engage with either new thinking or the state we are in – and worse, the state we are heading towards (2010:33).  This suggests an urgent need for these issues to be addressed.


  • Bottery, M. (2004) The Challenges of Educational Leadership, London: Sage
  • Cannatella, H. (2007) Place and Being, Educational Philosophy and Theory, 39:6, 622-632
  • Fielding, M. (2010) Radical Education and the Common School: A democratic alternative, New York: Routledge
  • Hicks, D. W.
  • Stephens, F. (2014) Developing Future Thinking School Leaders in Professional Development Today 17.3



The resources below will help in a consideration of both globalisation and future thinking and the questions for reflection may help identify areas for future development.

Climate change

Education for sustainability

Future perspective

Global dimension